Commentary | Hyde Park: Relative peace doesn’t mean long-term success

I know a good piñata when I see one, and this one deserves to be smashed again.

“The war has been one of the most extraordinary chapters of the service in the history of our nation,” said Barack Obama in front of U.S. soldiers on February 27. In his February 16 article, Ricky Kreitner argued that “the Iraq War is well on the way to being a success.” Kreitner must be elated that his assertion was immediately backed by the most powerful man on earth, whom many consider an opponent of the war in Iraq.

Kreitner prides himself on being able to admit his mistake. I hope after reading this piece he can admit that he is indeed wrong again in his recent conclusion that the Iraq War has been a success and is thus justified.

Facts about the Iraq War are abundant. However, facts do not choose themselves. A conclusion is arrived at by assembling facts through a certain way of viewing the world. I am not going to dispute the fact that there is now a relative peace in Iraq. However, to simply look at this brief period and declare that the U.S. invasion to Iraq is justified is a sign of Kreitner’s inability to see things in connection to each other.

This recent period of relative peace in Iraq is only a prelude to another, larger conflict as long as the main contradiction in Iraq has not been fundamentally solved. How many times has the Bush administration hastily declared such successes only be faced again with an upsurge of violence and conflict?

The same can be said of nearly all conflicts that sometimes subside only to explode again. In 60 years, we have heard time and time again that peace has arrived in the Israel-Palestine conflict through Madrid, Oslo, Camp David, Wye River, Sharm al-Sheikh, and Annapolis talks. Everyone rejoiced, only to learn that these talks were brief periods of relief before another, harsher blow was dealt to the Palestinian population.

How many times have we been told – especially during a period of prosperity – that capitalism will only become stronger, only later to find ourselves out of work due to a recession? Not long ago, we were told that capitalism had escaped its cycle of boom and bust. The likes of Kreitner naïvely popped the champagne in celebration, unable to see that the brief period of prosperity treaded on very fragile ground (credit and fictitious capital), much like this “success” in Iraq, which is only based on wishful thinking.

We can either accept that this unending cycle of peace and conflict is our final destiny as humanity, or we can question it and seek to solve the problems at its root. But before we do that, we ought to break away from our common-sense way of viewing the world and see things as connected and changing, not as compartmentalized and static.

Ted Sprague is a Master’s II Chemistry student. Write to him at ted_sprague@yahoo.com.


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